Said to have been featured on Ripley's Believe It or Not! As "The smallest Lutheran church in America!".
This beautiful 18 x 24 foot National Historical Monument sits on its original location in the beautiful foothills of Mt. Rainier. Because of its position on the highway travelers must use to reach Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park, the church is "on the road to Paradise." The church quietly watches the town of Elbe Washington as it has since 1906. The church has a 4-foot iron cross on top of the 46-foot bell tower-steeple which houses its original bell. The church still contains many original items such as a Farrand and Votey bellows organ manufactured 1906 in Detroit Michigan, its original altar, one original pew, and the original "Klingelbeutel" (a small red velvet bag with a bell on it to collect offerings). The church still holds services every third Sunday of the month from March through November at 2:30pm.
Hammond Lumber Co. No. 17
Build Date: 09/1929
An 85 ton "Minaret" type Mikado rod engine, the #17 was built by the American Locomotive Company in 1929 (c/n 68057) for the Crossett Western Co of Wauna, OR as their #11. Sold in 1942 to the Hammond Lumber Co of Samoa, CA as their #17, she was stranded in the woods after a 1945 forest fire. Rescued in 1965 for use on a California tourist railroad, the engine was moved to Elbe in 1981 and was restored to operable condition in 1994.
Hillcrest Lumber #10 (3 Truck Climax)
Built March 1928 by Climax Locomotive Works
This locomotive was the second to the last Climax ever built because Hillcrest Lumber purchased this Climax in March 1928 just as the Climax Locomotive Works was shutting down its business. She has all the refinements found on any Climaxes built in later years. Originally built as #3 for Hillcrest she was delivered in May 1928 to the Hillcrest operations on Vancouver Island, B.C. where she spent her entire logging career. She operated for Hillcrest until 1968 when the mill shut down for good. She was the last Climax in regular operation in the world at that time. She was sold to a collector in 1968 who hoped to use her on a tourist railroad in Victoria, B.C. but that operation never got started. In 1979 she was purchased by the Mount Rainier Scenic RR and was rebuilt as the first steam engine to operate for the MRSR.
"Broken Pieces of Steel Made into Something Real"
Visit this sculpture park titled Ex-Nihilo (pronounced "Ex Nee-Hill-o") which means something created from out of nothing in Latin. The park open year round for free to public.
Dan Klennert, ower of the park was born in a small town of Crookston, Minnesota in 1950. He felt in love with art at the age of six. While Dan was working as a mechanic in 1972, he practiced welding to make his first two sculptures.
In 1980, the Milwaukee Road abandoned all track west of North Dakota. Much of the track was simply pulled up, but in certain other cases the lines were put to use for local needs. This included the line through Elbe, Washington. As the years went by, various equipment got moved around, a tourist railroad prospered along the highway here in Elbe, and by 1987 some of the equipment came to be converted into a dining room, bar and hotel.
As a general rule, the main dining car operates from 11 am to 7 pm, with the bar / lounge operating until 1 am. Hours may vary by season, as the traffic through town drops off severely during September with very little from late fall through spring.
By "Classic American Cuisine" they basically mean burgers and fries and other typical road side food. However, some of the unusual dishes here include Elk Burger, Buffalo Burger and Venison Burger along with the more typical cow burger. There is also a Porta Bella Mushroom burger.
The caboose and two passenger cars rebuilt and redecorated for stationary restaurant use are reasonably well decorated, but it is also obvious that they require a lot more upkeep and attention than a standard building would.
There is artwork on the walls from various local artists, and while you wait for your food (which does arrive fairly quickly once you get it ordered) you may want to wander through some of the cars and the hallway by the bathrooms, and the bathrooms themselves, to take a closer look at the paintings on the walls for sale.
Favorite Dish: I wanted to try the Elk Burger or Buffalo Burger, but alas those were out of stock. I instead had the Venison Burger, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The options include "homemade soup", fries, and a few other options for dishes to accompany the burger, but I settled for the "classic American cuisine" and ordered fries with the burger. Cheese adds $0.99 to the price.
Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Car Co. offers good food with daily specials for your dining pleasure in a converted train car.
The Ex-Nihilo Sculpture Park is located on the south side of highway 706, 3 miles east of Elbe. Just after crossing the second railroad line, look for a large steel giraffe. The "fee" to enter is a donation.
There is a spectacular assortment of sculpture here, created in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. Many, I'm afraid, go blasting past this sculpture park without having any idea that this wonderful little privately owned, but publicyly shared, park is here.
Oversize spiders, huge bicycles, a horse several times life size, and several trains are included in the sculptures found here. From the front yard of this rambling sculpture garden you will be able to see Mt. Rainier. Note carefully the photo: in the background you will see Mt. Rainier.